I kicked a dog yesterday :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And feel rotten. But I need to know what to do in the future so here I am.

I posted here a week ago about my 3yo's fear of dogs. DH and I both grew up with dogs, DH has wanted a dog for as long as we've been together (15 years), and we finally moved to a home where a dog would be possible. On advice here and from vet friends we'd been taking dd1 to the SPCA adoption center to socialize with the dogs. She met and, over a week, bonded with a small-ish "shih-poo" mutt. Paco is a sweet, submissive, laid back younger dog (found tied to the shelter door with a note about his name, background, age, etc). According to the vet he is about 22lbs, more than a year but less than two, neutered and microchipped. And he's been great at home... good with the girls, responds to basic commands, likes his crate.

BUT.

There are a number of "loose dogs" that wander our very rural neighborhood (most homes have 5+ acres, lots run into protected state/federal woodland). There are two in particular that we have had "problems" with... two very territorial bulldog/boxers. They're large (50-60lbs), loud, belong to our nextdoor neighbor, roam free all day/night, but up till now they've always backed down with a word/command from DH or I. The girls and I take a 1-2 mile walk every morning and I've gotten used to these two barking/posturing but being generally "all bark".

Well, on yesterday's walk, about a quarter mile from home Dog and Lady Dog (the bulldog/boxers, neither have been fixed and they always act as a duo) came charging out of the woods and down the road at us, barking and growling. Now I KNOW it was just a "hey new dog dude, we are the top canines around here" show of force (and had been expecting something like this for a few days) but dd1 screamed and ran, and that set off a whole different scenario. I managed to get Paco to heel but the two larger dogs were jumping and biting and then they decided to leave Paco alone and "go" for dd1 who was still screaming (this all happened in seconds). I was able to control Dog verbally but Lady Dog grabbed dd1's shirt and pulled her down and...well... I had dd2 in the ergo front pack, Paco freaking out on the leash, Dog barking from a little distance, and a 60+ pound dog biting at my 3yo on the ground... so I kicked Lady Dog. I don't think it actually hurt her (but I did kick as hard as I could so I certainly could have hurt her), but it got her attention and I was able to shove her away and assert voice control.

DD1 was so upset she couldn't breath (but no bites, just scrapes from the ground) and was wrapped around my leg, the two larger dogs were circling a few feet away, dd2 was screaming in the front pack, and Paco was more or less a shivering pile of fluffy tail. I continued to assert dominance (vocal commands and gestures to "their" house) and managed to send Dog running for home. Lady Dog though continued to follow us as we headed for our house... when I'd face her directly and order her home she'd go but as soon as my attention went back to dd1 (who was having trouble walking) Lady Dog would try to charge again.

We finally got home, but this was not a good experience. And I feel rotten about having kicked a dog. And dd1 spent the whole day crying and shivering, had nightmares and wet the bed, and today when we started out on our regular walk (without Paco) we barely made it down the driveway before she was so upset we had to go back inside. Great job, huh? Finally help her see that dogs aren't scary and then stick her in the middle of a dog fight pile.

So... what do I do next time? We've already talked with our neighbors about their loose dogs and they think it's basically a joke ("dogs need their freedom, you're girl will adjust" don'cha know. I also know they were home when this happened but no one came out to see what was going on). And this family is sort of the "top family" in this neighborhood... it's very rural, very isolated, and I'd rather not alienate the only people around! So calling animal control probably isn't the best idea for us socially. Then again, this isn't healthy for dd1, Paco, me, or Dog/Lady Dog.

So please, what can I do? I'm a mess here and not thinking straight so I need some outside eyes and ideas.

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#2 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 12:39 PM
 
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No advice, but I didn't want to read and not comment.

Are there any local ordinances about dogs roaming the public areas?

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#3 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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Have you talked to them about this latest incident? I think the situation has changed now that the dogs have gone from posturing to attacking. Lady Dog didn't actually bit your dd or hurt her badly but she very well could have. Because of your social concerns, which I do understand I've lived rurally before, I would talk to the neighbours one more time. I would tell them though that if the dogs charge you one more time you will have to call animal control. You need to protect your child.

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#4 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 01:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rhiannon Feimorgan View Post
Have you talked to them about this latest incident? I think the situation has changed now that the dogs have gone from posturing to attacking. Lady Dog didn't actually bit your dd or hurt her badly but she very well could have. Because of your social concerns, which I do understand I've lived rurally before, I would talk to the neighbours one more time. I would tell them though that if the dogs charge you one more time you will have to call animal control. You need to protect your child.
I agree. And to you, your dd's and Paco!!
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#5 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 01:35 PM
 
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I wouldn't feel bad about kicking the dog--not at all. Someone has failed those dogs, but it's not you.

Being a country girl myself, I understand what you're saying about the neighbors--but the fact is, their dogs have regularly menaced you in the past, and now the situation has escalated to the point of dog teeth on your child's clothing.

It simply can't go on. If they hate you forever over raising a stink over the incident you described, they're not the kind of people you could count on for common decency in a pinch anyway.

Someone else might shoot the dogs and dump the bodies--they should count themselves lucky you're not to that point.

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#6 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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I would be having a serious talk with the neighbors and I think kicking that dog was 1000% warranted. I'm sorry if that isn't a popular opinion, but if a dog is attacking your child you must do whatever you can to get said dog off of your child.

As for the this happening again (but it really, really shouldn't. Aggressive behavior in dogs escalates with repeat incidents, and it just can't happen again with this dog!), be sure to do your best not to make noise as that escalates the dogs excited state. You can also "bite" the dog in the neck area with your hand and try to get *something* (stick, stroller, ANYTHING handy) between the dog and your child.

I currently have a foster pit bull and our "full time" American bulldog. They have fought twice and for the worst one it took two dining chairs, and ultimately a sliding glass door to separate them. Please don't take the risk of one of these dogs getting truly fixated on your dog, or god forbid, your child before insisting your neighbor be responsible with their dogs. They certainly don't want a law suit on their hands anymore than you want your family injured by their dog!

But again, please don't feel bad for kicking that dog! No one likes to do it, but it had your kid on the ground! Bully breeds have very high pain thresholds and she probably barely felt the kick anyway.
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#7 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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You do everything in your power to protect your child. If that means kicking a dog....if that means killing a dog, I would never ever hesitate. Child trumps dog at all costs.

Tell the neighbors the dog actually attacked your child and they need to keep their dog(s) under control. If not you will contact the authorities. No ifs, ands, or buts. The safety of children is the utmost importance.

For the record my DH is the type of person to shoot a dog if it ever attacked his child. So I'd have to call animal control fast...like before DH came home. There would be no talking to the neighbors for him.
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#8 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 03:55 PM
 
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You did what you had to do to keep your child safe. You acted on instinct.

I would report the dog attack to the police and dog officer, if there is one.

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#9 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all. I'm still really shaken up by this.

I know about not making loud/squeeky noises around dogs (especially ones that are aggressive or posturing), but dd1 is literally terrified of dogs and although we've been working with her for a while she still reacts with scream/flight to most dogs. Paco is actually the first dog she has ever voluntarily approached and/or petted on her own initiative. Her being able to share space with a dog is soooooo brand new that this "attack" by Dog/Lady Dog is a really significant trauma for her. Like I mentioned, she is having screaming nightmares about dogs and wetting the bed (afraid to get out of bed in case Lady Dog has somehow gotten into the house). I feel horrible that I put her in a position where this happened to her.

DH is going to try walking Paco on his own past our neighbor's house tonight. He sort of hopes that Dog/Lady Dog will put on another show so he can provide an eye witness report to the neighbors. Part of the problem is that "Mr. Neighbor" is very conservative in his opinions regarding the ability of women/children to judge situations accurately. Any complaint that comes from a woman/child gets a smile, laugh, comment but no action. And if DH doesn't actually see the event happen then Mr. Neighbor discounts his report too as DH "listening a bit to much to the ladies". I know this makes them look really bad... they're not! They've been very sweet, and as I mentioned, they're sort of the dominant family here. Every conversation with other neighbors always loops back to this family at some point. And he works for the county so he has a lot of connections as well. They're very friendly.... they just have rotten dog owner habits.

Argh. I feel so horrible for further traumatizing dd1 and I just don't know what to do. Paco is such a sweetie and DD1 is really taken with him. But I can't afford the risk of having her (or him) in another tussle while I'm holding a baby! And even though I realize it may have been necessary at the moment (it was instinct DoK, you're right...the whole thing literally took seconds though it feels like it was in slow-motion), I feel really bad about kicking Lady Dog. Though the very faint silver lining there is that I most certainly impressed Paco with our family pack order... he obeys DH quickly but when I say something he practically flies.

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#10 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 04:36 PM
 
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DO NOT FEEL BAD!!! An aggressive dog attacking a 3 year old is a dangerous dog, especially if the dogs are an aggressive breed. I would be calling the sheriff's office and filing a complaint about a dangerous dog. This could have easily escalated into a much worse situation.

I personally would have beat the out of the dog.

I have a friend who's dog was nearly killed by a neighbors pit bull, and her DH and friend were almost attacked the literally had to beat the dog with a shovel to get it off their dog. I have no patience for an owner who has un-altered aggressive dogs, your neighbor sounds like an ass**** to me.

I was attacked by a dog as a child, innocently playing in my sand box and the neighbors dog came knocked me over and drug me by my face. My dad beat the crap out of the dog(the dog was very aggressive to LOs so he was put down). I almost lost my eye, but luckily the punctures were above it(by hardly anything).

Again DON"T FEEL BAD...I have an idea, you could make a cayenne pepper spray of your own(or dish soap). I'd put it in a small spray bottle and load it with cayenne and water(or again dish soap) and if the dogs come out after you again spray them. I was going to do this with a neighbors dog who was scaring me really bad coming out and stopping at the edge of her yard snarling, but my 2 dogs weren't leashed one day walking by and they beat her up because she came barreling out at me. She never came out again.

I am a dog lover, but I have no respect for people who let their dogs harass neighbors and families, it isn't necessarily the dogs fault, it is the owners. I would file a formal complaint. I am concerned that this may be just the beginning of their reign of terror, it often escalates from one incident. Report the neighbor.

I feel terrible for all of your family, and your poor little DD.

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#11 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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[QUOTE=wombatclay;11663459I had dd2 in the ergo front pack, Paco freaking out on the leash, Dog barking from a little distance, and a 60+ pound dog biting at my 3yo on the ground... so I kicked Lady Dog.[/QUOTE]

You showed her your dominance. She made you show her because she was attacking your CHILD. Feel no guilt. She understood you just like she would have if you were a dog and she was attacking your puppy and you attacked her. You showed her what was not acceptable and, as human, you must ALWAYS be dominant.

What worries me is the fact that, Lady Dog didn't completely give up- she followed you in a threatening way. That's a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

I think to start, you need to talk to the owners and tell them that, even though your child was not injured (physically), she was ATTACKED by their dog. If you're afraid to call animal control, then let them know that, for your own PROTECTION, you will be taking your walks with a very big stick from now on and you will not hesitate to use it if you need to. (And don't feel guilty if you need to!)

Dog owners like that make me sick.

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#12 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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So... what do I do next time?
Kick the dog! You do what ever you need to do when your child has been knocked down and is being attacked by a dog.

But, I would definitely do something about it. I understand your hesitation to cause problems with the neighbors, so my suggestion is to just take the dogs into animal control. Although, if you report this attack and get it on record that they're aggressive, animal control may come out and pick them up (though they don't usually respond to non violent dogs).

If the dogs are not spayed and neutered, and probably not vaccinated or licensed, the owners are going to have to pay some hefty fines to get them out of the pound. Doing that a few times may convince them to keep the dogs contained.

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#13 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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I couldn't read and not post.

I haven't read the other replies so forgive me if I repeat something. I don't think you did a thing wrong. I'd do whatever it took to get a dog away from my child. I'd also call animal control, we have a county one (I unfortunately know this) and there's a good chance they'll take the dogs. At the very least they'll come investigate. It sounds like the dogs weren't on their own property which is what animal control will look for.

Your poor girl. I can't imagine how terrified she must be. My oldest was outside one morning with me right behind him and a stray came running up. I'm sure it was innocent, just a "hi, pet me!" kind of thing, but my 120 lb Chesapeake jumped in front of my kid and my poor baby was scared to death of black dogs for a long time. Alot of reassurance and no force and he did eventually grow out of it. He still tends to be cautious around dogs, but nothing like he was.
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#14 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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#15 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Hugs to you, Clay! I would have done the same thing and I would have been really shaken too. You are the MamaBear- you were protecting your wee ones!!!

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#16 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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You were protecting your child.

I hope it doesn't need to happen again. I'm glad your dd has Paco to show her how nice dogs can be.

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#17 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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I kicked a dog in the face last summer, very similar situation dog coming at me and the children snarling, didn't think twice about it, never felt bad about it, wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

You should call AC, your/kids safety is far more important than your social standing in the neighborhood, the situation has been ongoing and it has escalated. The problem wont stop or go away until the neighbor keeps his dogs put up or the dogs go away. If you don't call AC there is always the 3 S solution...
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#18 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 07:22 PM
 
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Seriously. A dog attacked your daughter. Why in the world would you feel bad about kicking it?

You need to report this incident to animal control and the police. Have your husband inform your neighbors that you've reported the ATTACK. On future walks I would carry pepper spray and/or a sturdy pipe (something that won't break if you have to haul off and beat a dog with it).

This isn't going to get better. The dogs see your daughter and probably your little dog as prey. What happens if your daughter is outside playing in your yard and these dogs come onto your property? They will go after her again.

If this had happened to us, at the very least Lady dog would be dead and Dog would be seriously injured. My partner has no tolerance for things that threaten his family.

You are clearly a strong woman. You fought off two dogs that were ATTACKING your family and you did it with one good kick and whole lot of being BAD-ASS. Do not let some hick neighbors intimidate you into dropping this incident. This was serious. It was life threatening to your family.



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#19 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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I could smack these owners, they are everything wrong with dog owners. For your daughter;

You realize that you would have grounds for a lawsuit and more over, if you reported this you could have the dog legally put down.

I would mention this to them, not as a threat, they know that their dog can be put down, so don't mention it, but tell them that if they are not restrained then you will report them to the authorities.

What they are doing is illegal. Screw it, don't even bother to give them a warning, just do and let the authorities warn them about restaining their dogs, their possible actions will speak louder than your words.

DO NOT FEEL BAD!!!!! Even if the authorities eventually put the dog down, you have to think what would have happened if you never mentioned it, and she attacked another child and seriously disfigured or injured or killed them.

Has anyone else in the neighbourhood complained? Perhaps if you got a bunch of people together to also complain (anonymously is possible) and they would have no choice. Restrain the dogs or lose them in court.

As for your daughter, it will just take time for her to get over the trauma, I'd start taking her to the local shelter again and socializing her with other dogs besides yours. Explain the situation to them, they may have some good advice too, about local laws, what to do, etc.
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#20 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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You know the more I think about this the more it makes me mad.

I also live in the country and it really sounds like your neighbor has a serious problem. He *thinks* because a woman complains about his dogs she's overreacting?!?! He's really lucky that many of the pp aren't his neighbors. I personally cannot imagine what my DH would do if we were in a similar situation, he would go kill the dog(I also would be backing him up 100%). I am really concerned about this situation, the neighbor obviously doesn't care and needs a serious lesson. Call the authorities.

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#21 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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Okay, I recently bought something called a dog dazer. They cost around $30, and are easy to take with you. Basically, you push a button, it makes a loud ultrasonic noise that we can't hear, but dogs can and they hate it. I got it for my mom's dogs. They bark like mad at everything, and when my dogs are there, they can't behave (they're great at my house). So 6 dogs all going off at once everytime mailman comes or there's a cat in the yard. After I got it, I waited for the chaos that would certainly ensue. When it did, I pushed the button for a fraction of a second. Every dog in the room immediately stopped. Only needed it for a few days.

People use them when biking or walking, to stop dogs from attacking. Seeing what it does with my dogs, I have no doubt it would stop advancing dogs.

Your dog won't it like it much, but it doesn't hurt them, just annoys the crap out of them.

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#22 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 08:31 PM
 
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Cool, LeahBoo. How big is it?

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#23 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 09:00 PM
 
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oh mama I am so sorry that happened as pp have said don't feel guilty for protecting your children! Is your dd receptive to being tauht some self protection such as balling up her fists covering her face with her arms and the like I am sure you don't want to scare her further , maybe make it into a game.

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#24 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Thanks all. I'm still really shaken up by this.

I know about not making loud/squeeky noises around dogs (especially ones that are aggressive or posturing), but dd1 is literally terrified of dogs and although we've been working with her for a while she still reacts with scream/flight to most dogs. Paco is actually the first dog she has ever voluntarily approached and/or petted on her own initiative. Her being able to share space with a dog is soooooo brand new that this "attack" by Dog/Lady Dog is a really significant trauma for her. Like I mentioned, she is having screaming nightmares about dogs and wetting the bed (afraid to get out of bed in case Lady Dog has somehow gotten into the house). I feel horrible that I put her in a position where this happened to her.

DH is going to try walking Paco on his own past our neighbor's house tonight. He sort of hopes that Dog/Lady Dog will put on another show so he can provide an eye witness report to the neighbors. Part of the problem is that "Mr. Neighbor" is very conservative in his opinions regarding the ability of women/children to judge situations accurately. Any complaint that comes from a woman/child gets a smile, laugh, comment but no action. And if DH doesn't actually see the event happen then Mr. Neighbor discounts his report too as DH "listening a bit to much to the ladies". I know this makes them look really bad... they're not! They've been very sweet, and as I mentioned, they're sort of the dominant family here. Every conversation with other neighbors always loops back to this family at some point. And he works for the county so he has a lot of connections as well. They're very friendly.... they just have rotten dog owner habits.

Argh. I feel so horrible for further traumatizing dd1 and I just don't know what to do. Paco is such a sweetie and DD1 is really taken with him. But I can't afford the risk of having her (or him) in another tussle while I'm holding a baby! And even though I realize it may have been necessary at the moment (it was instinct DoK, you're right...the whole thing literally took seconds though it feels like it was in slow-motion), I feel really bad about kicking Lady Dog. Though the very faint silver lining there is that I most certainly impressed Paco with our family pack order... he obeys DH quickly but when I say something he practically flies.

You know, in this case, maybe the best approach would be to have DH go over with cookies or whatever and seriously talk to them, and say he truly knows this isn't just 'the little woman' exagerating or over reacting and he is scared for his children and much as he'd prefer not to make waves he's really worried about his kids and note it for the record that they talked about it.

If they are that nice, then they probably will comply if they are convinced that it really did happen and you didn't make it up. If they truly believed it happened, of course they would constrain the dogs.

If this doesn't work ASAP, go to AC and ask them for ADVICE rather than reporting them. If he is really connected with a lot of the local officials, one of them may be able to talk to him on your behalf and explain that he really does need to restrain the dogs, and the possible dangers of not doing so, like a lawsuit where they would be at fault if god forbid something happened.
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#25 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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Look. y'all know I love dogs, especially big strong dogs. But if I went for a walk with my children and my small dog and this happened to us, there would have been a VERY hasty case of SSS (shoot, shovel, and shut up.) Kicking would have been the very least that I would have done. Also, you should never, ever stick your delicate hands in between two fighting dogs or one dog that's attacking a person. You did the exact thing you should have done.

But...until the situation is resolved, I would reconsider walking with both your children AND your dog at the same time, or at least walk in another direction. I was overwhelmed just reading your description of how it all went down. I know it's pleasant (not to mention easier) to take everybody for a walk at the same time, but unless your DH can come too, I would try to minimize the numbers with you, kwim?

Misti, mom to DS (12), DS (9), DD (3), and Mr. Man (October '10)!

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#26 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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Have you called the police and animal control yet?

While you are waiting for the dogdazer to arrive, get a squirt gun and fill it with ammonia.

Carry it with you when you go for your walks, and aim right between their eyes if a dog charges at you or your child.

They will not be pleased, and it isn't hard to get like Mace can be. A bicyclist told me he does this to repel dog attacks. ( I don't want to know where he learned it)

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#27 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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Have you called the police and animal control yet?

While you are waiting for the dogdazer to arrive, get a squirt gun and fill it with ammonia.

Carry it with you when you go for your walks, and aim right between their eyes if a dog charges at you or your child.

They will not be pleased, and it isn't hard to get like Mace can be. A bicyclist told me he does this to repel dog attacks. ( I don't want to know where he learned it)
I used to do this when riding my mare, only I used a super soaker with a rifle sling

It was as much for the dogs' protection as mine...my mare was a confirmed dog killer when she got the chance.

Misti, mom to DS (12), DS (9), DD (3), and Mr. Man (October '10)!

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#28 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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I have to agree with what everyone else is posting. There is no way you should be feeling bad about kicking the dog. I shudder to think of what could have happened next if your instincts hadn't brought out your mother bear.

I just want to underline the point that while the dog did not seriously hurt your child, she DID attack your child. Not "attack" but really and truly did attack your child. She saw her as prey and took her down, and had her in a position where she easily could have gotten to her throat had you not stepped in. This must not be taken lightly.

You sound like maybe you are too nice for your own good - making allowances for your neighbors bad behavior because of your past interactions with them and their status in the area. Nothing excuses them allowing such aggressive behavior from their animals, and they need to face the consequences.

Please, if you cannot do it for yourself, do it for your daughter, and report this incident to the police. Please think of the next mom who may be walking with her children through the neighborhood. Could you ever forgive yourself if a child got seriously hurt because these dogs were allowed to continue terrorizing the neighborhood?

I cannot stress enough that this dog could have killed your child! I'm thanking the Lord that the incident didn't escalate out of control. You're a nicer person than I am to have only kicked the miserable thing once, and then feel bad about doing even that! Wow... I'm a total animal lover, been vegetarian for nearly half my life, devoted pet owner and advocate for animal welfare and rights, but I don't think that dog would be alive had that been my child.

I plead with you again to take this to the authorities. The owners will likely receive a warning and instruction to keep the animals contained in compliance with your city's laws. If there are further incidents, this one will be on record so they can take the next step in getting these animals under control. No excuse.

CPST ***I can help keep your child safe in the car. Ask me a car seat question!***
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#29 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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Cool, LeahBoo. How big is it?

Bigger than a cell phone, not much though. Has a clip so you can clip it to your belt or something.

~Dawn
 
Blah blah blah
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#30 of 89 Old 07-10-2008, 10:22 PM
 
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I'm sorry, I cannot believe that you feel badly for kicking the dog. The dogs have been failed by their owners: YES. But regardless, your job is to protect your child. I'd commit such violence to that animal that it would THINK before attacking another child. Thank goodness you and your daughter are ok. I HATE IT that people get away with letting their dogs run loose.
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